People of Influence

Trudy Schroeder

Random Notes

"You may think that this was easier to do in 1952, but somehow there have always been many challenges and difficulties in the world."

As more and more of our family holiday plans come crashing down because of COVID infections in various members of the family, I am quite rudely reminded that this pandemic is not finished with us yet.  It sometimes seems that even while we desperately seek to return to some version of normal life, we come face to face with the reality that there are many parts of life that we simply cannot control.  The pandemic will not bend to our will, and there are so many other parts of life that are the same.

Professional advice givers have often been heard to say that “You cannot control many things that happen in your life, but you can control the way you respond to the situation”.  And, it seems that Norman Vincent Peale had some good perspectives for life in his 1952 best seller The Power of Positive Thinking. Part of his approach is this recommendation for life: “The way to happiness:  Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry.  Live simply, expect little, give much.  Fill your life with love.  Scatter sunshine.  Forget self, think of others.  Do as you would be done by.  Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”

You may think that this was easier to do in 1952, but somehow there have always been many challenges and difficulties in the world.  It is always possible to find reasons to worry and expect that the world is doomed. And yet, it has been demonstrated so many times that a positive and thankful approach to life is a powerful force for good and for accomplishment.  I can remember a professor in a business course talking about the well-studied impact of a positive attitude on the career trajectories of employees.   Interestingly the studies showed that the people with a negative and discouraged attitude about work and life were more correct in their assessment of a given situation.  However, promotions and career advancement came much more frequently to the people who demonstrated a positive attitude in the workplace.

In recent weeks I have read several newspaper articles, on-line advice columns, and most recently a Harvard Business Review article reminding people to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Some of the advisors suggest keeping a gratitude journal in which you start each day by listing three things for which you are grateful.  This habit becomes a daily reminder of the many things in life that are such remarkable blessings.  Today’s posting from Harvard Business Review reminds people to “Be Grateful More Often.”

The article sites the following benefits from cultivating a grateful spirit:

  1. You savour positive experiences.
  2. You are more resilient in the face of stress.
  3. Your physical and mental health can improve.
  4. You increase the self-worth of others.

Apparently expressing your gratitude to those around you for their efforts is also a highly effective way to increase productivity, improve morale, and create a positive work culture.  These all seem to be good reasons to work on being positive and expressing gratitude.  As you have likely surmised, I will be starting a gratitude journal in 2023, and I am looking forward to reminding myself daily of the many things in my life that are such wonderful parts of my life.

Happy 2023!

Trudy Schroeder provides project planning and management services to the community through Arts and Heritage Solutions.

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